When looking for supplementary funding, it should come as no surprise that grant systems remain one of the most popular options for small businesses. Often not necessitating equity stakes, or repayments, they are a great way to provide financial support where it’s needed most.
It’s important to go about grant-searching the right way in order to maximise your eligibility. If you’re looking to secure a UK grant, make sure to read through our advice below and give your business the chance it deserves.
Be Selective with Your Choices
If you want the grant opportunity best suited for your needs, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve explored all possible types and routes. Not every grant is available in every region, so it’s important to be wary of regional and national opportunities.
It’s not just geographical limitations that you need to be aware of either, as some sectors may attract more interest and financial backing than others. Tech businesses are far more likely to gain a larger backing, for example. View a comprehensive list of government grants here; just select your industry type and browse available options.
Additional programmes such as the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) are schemes organised by universities, chambers of commerce and local authorities, and can offer grants or loans to eligible businesses. It’s worth checking to see if this may be a viable option for you.
Be Certain of your Eligibility
A grant process will most likely require information from you such as your business size and type, previous funding history, why you’re applying and your industry sector.
Be aware of grants that aim to match your investments, as you’ll need to have some funds in place beforehand, and ensure that you’re clued up on the funding rules and regulations.
It’s paramount that you’re confident in the criteria and terms of any grant scheme you’re looking to apply for. Applications will often have specific conditions that you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of. You don’t want to spend time preparing for an application you have no chance of securing!
Outline Your Business Plan
Make sure to prepare thoroughly. To make certain of a successful application, you’ll be asked to provide a business plan, realistic sales projections, a cash flow and profit/loss forecasts. Have these in place before you apply.
Demonstrate and determine how you will reach the specifications of your application. Define your definition of success and showcase the ways in which you will reach your goals. A good understanding of your product and services will demonstrate confidence and capability, qualities that are certain to help you on your grant search!
Be Open to Other Options
Not every grant approach equals success, but don’t give up! There are a wide variety of choices outside of grant schemes that could be right for you.
‘Soft loans’, for example, offer lower interest rates with less rigorous terms than typical lending options. Government backed and capping at £25’000, you’ll only need to start paying these back once you’re making a profit. They also boast additional benefits with free business support and mentoring.
Other Websites and Schemes
If you’re looking for a little guidance from other examples, The Small Business website has a collection of cast studies demonstrating growth from direct funding. There are also additional tips, tricks and guides to help you during your application.
The UK Export Finance website is also a great tool for businesses looking to export overseas, with independent development, economic advice and a range of financing terms.
Younger applicants between 18 and 30 can also make use of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme. If you’re looking for mentoring, training or funding support, make sure to visit their website.
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